All right! Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently, and the reason is twofold.
For one thing, my scanner is putting some severe lines through the photos and documents I’ve been scanning and it’s so bad in most cases that I don’t have enough skill to Photoshop them back to normalcy.
For two, I’ve been working on a bio of my grandfather, Johan “John” Siersema, since his birthday last week, which has included a lot of nailing down dates and details, listening to an old interview, and getting a hold of family members.
The good news is that my interviews should be done by next week, but the bad news is, I need a new scanner. I took the one I have apart to see if a good cleaning could remove the streaks from the glass, but alas it was not meant to be. I will figure something out, though.
Also recently, my cousin Anje Belmon — who is awesome and also into ancestry — has been something of a sleuth and fact checker and has uncovered lots of new information as well as a couple spelling mistakes on my part (shhhh…).
For instance, after I published the bio of Sophia van Ameringen, Anje found an entire Jewish Monument page has been dedicated to Sophia online, and there’s one for her daughter, Frederika, too. Each has a photo, which is really exciting, and additional details about them that I didn’t know. Like, Frederika lived in a home for mentally challenged people, and Sophia was in hiding with a family before being shipped to the Sobibor death camp. The Nazis searched the residence one day, didn’t take her, and then returned later for her. There’s also apparently a listing of all her worldly goods that the Nazis confiscated in The Hague, where I plan to go one day and look it up.
Anje also found the birthday of Dirk de Wit — the second of November, 1872, not sometime in 1873 like I’d thought. And she was able to identify some of the names on the photo of Klaas Siersema and his fellow military members in 1940, so I could update the tags and maybe their descendants will be able to say who they were.
I have also updated the post about Klaas Siersema and Helena “Lenie” de Wit’s divorce. Listening to an interview my grandfather did in the 80s, I discovered there was an even earlier divorce in my family’s history, where in Arentje Vermaas and Gerrit Siersema split on account of he had a severe alcoholism problem. She pretty much took their three kids and left in the late 1880s, and he eventually drank himself to death.
I also discovered what happened to Leendert Vlassbloem, who was one of the witnesses to Helena’s and Klaas’ marriage. According to the same interview with my grandfather, Leendert and his wife Leentje Siersema died of starvation within three days of each other during WWII.
And, perhaps the biggest discovery I have made so far was finding out which camp my grandfather was a prisoner of during WWII. It was Camp Amersfoort (don’t forget to turn on your Google translate if you follow that link), but more to come on that in my grandfather’s bio, I assure you.
Anyway, I’ll try to get a couple new posts up over the weekend with photos other people have scanned. And in the meantime, I’m also trying to figure out how to restore the head of this ancestor, who I think is Freerk Bellinga Swalve, since he looks super similar to a photo I have of his daughter. Maybe a hat? At this point, I’m taking suggestions.